Governor Janet Mills announced support of emergency legislation sponsored by Maine Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Allagash) to provide temporary relief to workers affected by the shutdown of the federal government and called on the Maine Legislature to quickly pass the measure and send it to her desk to sign into law.
Jackson’s legislation would allow the state to guarantee interest-free loans in an amount of one month’s net pay, up to $5,000 per federal employee in Maine. The legislation would apply to furloughed federal workers, approximately 1,100 Mainers, who have continued to work without pay for the duration of the five-week shutdown.
Legislative leadership on the Legislative Council voted unanimously Thursday afternoon to allow the after-deadline legislation to be considered by the full Legislature. Emergency legislation requires a two-thirds majority vote of membership in both the House and Senate to pass and reach the Governor’s desk.
Mills continues to monitor the impact of the federal government shutdown on state government. Just over a week ago, Governor Mills along with Acting Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew announced that DHHS would distribute SNAP benefits for the month of February early.
“This shutdown is exactly the type of gridlock and dysfunction that Maine people are tired of, and we will not stand idly by as Maine people suffer as a result of it,” said Governor Mills, in news release. “I applaud Senator Jackson’s leadership in bringing forward this bill and our financial institutions for being willing to work together to help provide timely relief to federal employees, like members of our Coast Guard and TSA, who continue to work hard every day but are not getting paid. I am calling on the State Legislature to pass Senator Jackson’s bill as soon as possible and send it to me to sign into law. In the meantime, I continue to urge the President and Congress to reach a resolution to this senseless shutdown. Enough is enough.”